LOCATION: DenaliNational Park, Denali, Alaska
This post is part of my Alaska Trip Series.
DenaliNational Park is a preserve over 6 million acres. Its main attraction is Mr. McKinley (Denali), the tallest mountain in North America. The Denali habitat contains forest on its lower level, tundra on its middle section and glacier, rock and snow on its higher portion.
With a park so large and vast, I expected to see a lot. I was able to see lots of views, but it wasn’t what I expected National Park wise.
Public access can not go past mile 15 in the park without being on a bus to conserve pollution. Due to heavy spring snow and their opening schedule, buses were only going to the Toklat stop and back (6 hours round trip). I was told there were stops along the way for hiking and we could catch return buses back. I assumed it was like Zion and Yosemite where there are legitimate hiking spots at each stop, but this was not the case. Denali is not a major hiking territory unless you have a permit and will be doing some serious back country hiking. I, obviously, was not doing that since I am traveling alone. The stops were mostly overlooks and no hiking. I ended up riding the 6 hours on the bus just looking at the views.
The views were spectacular, however, I just wanted to hike around. We saw many animals along the way. Caribou, Dall Sheep, Moose and a baby Grisly Bear, oh my! The people on the bus seemed more like animals than the actual animals when it came time to viewing the wildlife. Snapping several pictures, climbing over people, it was a frenzy. You would think the excitement would die down after seeing one moose, but no. Moose number two and three received the same over zealous behavior as the first. A moose is a moose people! The guy next to me was particularly annoying as he would literally get in my lap with his camera and in my face if an animal was on my viewing side. The whole time he would say “Oh my God. Oh my God. This is amazing. AMAZING.” Clearly, this is the type of person that would walk up to a bear to get a picture.
After a 6 hour scenic tour, some of which I napped, I made it to the visitor center since they had some hikes around there.
The trails were small and nothing special but anything to get my legs going was needed. While the scenery amazed me, I would much rather have hiking experiences in a beautiful place like Zion or Yosemite. Sorry Denali.
WOULD I DO IT AGAIN? It was pretty, but I like hiking in parks better
HOW TO DO THIS: Denali shuttle to the Toklat stop $36.25. www.reservedenali.com/shuttles